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Free Content Intracellular K+ sensing of SKOR, a Shaker -type K+ channel from Arabidopsis

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Most K+ channels in plants are structurally classified into the Shaker family named after the shaker K+ channel in Drosophila. Plant K+ channels function in many physiological processes including osmotic regulation and K+ nutrition. An outwardly rectifying K+ channel, SKOR, mediates the delivery of K+ from stelar cells to the xylem in the roots, a critical step in the long-distance distribution of K+ from roots to the upper parts of the plant. Here we report that SKOR channel activity is strictly dependent on intracellular K+ concentrations. Activation by K+ did not affect the kinetics of voltage dependence in SKOR, indicating that a voltage-independent gating mechanism underlies the K+ sensing process. Further analysis showed that the C-terminal non-transmembrane region of the SKOR protein was required for this sensing process. The intracellular K+ sensing mechanism couples SKOR activity to K+ nutrition status in the ‘source cells’, thereby establishing a supply-based unloading system for the regulation of K+ distribution.
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Keywords: K+ channel; K+ sensing; giant patch; two-electrode voltage clamp

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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